Harlow hospital’s neonatal unit is aiming for the top

Health / Thu 15th Aug 2019 at 11:02am

Harlow hospital’s neonatal unit is aiming for the top

THE neonatal unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) has received many accolades for its dedicated care – and now it stands a chance of being honoured among the top baby units in the country.

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at PAHT, which cares for premature and vulnerable babies, has been committed to putting family centred care at the heart of everything it does – and staff are always looking at new ways of ensuring every family has the best experience possible. It has now won a place as a finalist to receive the Bliss neonatal excellence team award from the respected international baby charity. It is one of only three units in the UK shortlisted out of 350 nominations – a resounding achievement.

The unit registered its interest with Bliss in September 2017 to develop its family- centred care approach and accreditation with the charity’s charter. The Bliss baby charter acknowledges excellence, and was designed to standardise high quality family centred care across the UK. It is a practical framework for neonatal units to self-assess the quality of family-centred care they deliver against a set of seven core principles. It enables units to audit their practices and develop meaningful plans to achieve changes that benefit babies and their families. A family-centred approach to care brings with it proven benefits to the baby, family and unit staff.

This week NICU received its pledge certificate where it formally commits to upholding the baby charter principles. The framed certificate was presented to Janelle Gardner, neonatal unit and neonatal community team manager, and members of the neonatal team by Steve Clarke, chairman of the trust.

The seven Bliss baby charter principles include supporting social, developmental and emotional needs; specialist services and staff; information and support for families; aiding feeding practice; and importantly, help and preparation for discharge.
Janelle explained why The Bliss Baby Charter is so valuable for babies and families: enhanced family bonding; increased parental confidence; making positive memories; and improved long-term health outcomes are just some of the benefits.

There are also advantages for the unit, including freeing up staff time and improved relations with parents.
Janelle said: “We are very proud and excited to be starting out on this journey to improving the standards of care we give to our babies and their families. Putting families at the forefront of what we do is of utmost importance to the long-term outcomes for both babies and their families. The pledge demonstrates our commitment to the quality improvements and our aim to complete the framework towards accreditation.”

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